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Empirical Mode Decomposition Analysis of Heart Rate Variability

Empirical Mode Decomposition Analysis of Heart Rate Variability

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Published by ijcsis
Abstract - The analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) demands specific capabilities not provided by either
parametric or nonparametric spectral estimation methods. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) has the possibility of dealing with nonstationary and nonlinear embedded phenomena, for a proper assessment of dynamic and transient changes in amplitude and time scales of HRV signal. In this work EMD and a non-linear curve fitting technique are used to study half an hour HRV signal and its intrinsic mode function obtained from 20 healthy young control subjects, 20 healthy old control subjects and 20 subjects with long term ST. The intrinsic oscillations are measured by means of its meanperiod and variance. Significant meanperiod reduction is observed in the intrinsic time scales of healthy old control subjects and subjects with long term ST, which is used to classify the three groups of HRV signal with high sensitivity and specificity. The estimated slope using the non-linear curve fitting technique represents the flexibility of the cardiovascular system. The main advantage of this method is it does not make any prior assumption about the HRV signal being analyzed and no artificial information is introduced into the filtering method.

Index Terms- Empirical Mode Decomposition, Heart Rate Variability, Intrinsic Mode Functions, RR intervals, nonlinear curve fitting.
Abstract - The analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) demands specific capabilities not provided by either
parametric or nonparametric spectral estimation methods. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) has the possibility of dealing with nonstationary and nonlinear embedded phenomena, for a proper assessment of dynamic and transient changes in amplitude and time scales of HRV signal. In this work EMD and a non-linear curve fitting technique are used to study half an hour HRV signal and its intrinsic mode function obtained from 20 healthy young control subjects, 20 healthy old control subjects and 20 subjects with long term ST. The intrinsic oscillations are measured by means of its meanperiod and variance. Significant meanperiod reduction is observed in the intrinsic time scales of healthy old control subjects and subjects with long term ST, which is used to classify the three groups of HRV signal with high sensitivity and specificity. The estimated slope using the non-linear curve fitting technique represents the flexibility of the cardiovascular system. The main advantage of this method is it does not make any prior assumption about the HRV signal being analyzed and no artificial information is introduced into the filtering method.

Index Terms- Empirical Mode Decomposition, Heart Rate Variability, Intrinsic Mode Functions, RR intervals, nonlinear curve fitting.

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Empirical Mode Decomposition Analysis of Heart Rate Variability
C.Santhi.M.E.,
Assistant Professor,Electronics and Communication Engineering, Government College of Technology, Coimbatore-641 013
 N.Kumaravel Ph.D
Professor, Head of the Department,Electronics and Communication Engineering, Anna University,Chennai-600 025.
Abstract
The analysis of heart rate variability (HRV)demands specific capabilities not provided by either  parametric or nonparametric spectral estimation methods.Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) has the possibility of dealing with nonstationary and nonlinear embedded phenomena, for a proper assessment of dynamic andtransient changes in amplitude and time scales of HRVsignal. In this work EMD and a non-linear curve fittingtechnique are used to study half an hour HRV signal and itsintrinsic mode function obtained from 20 healthy youngcontrol subjects, 20 healthy old control subjects and 20subjects with long term ST. The intrinsic oscillations aremeasured by means of its meanperiod and variance.Significant meanperiod reduction is observed in the intrinsictime scales of healthy old control subjects and subjects withlong term ST, which is used to classify the three groups of HRV signal with high sensitivity and specificity. Theestimated slope using the non-linear curve fitting techniquerepresents the flexibility of the cardiovascular system. Themain advantage of this method is it does not make any prior assumption about the HRV signal being analyzed and noartificial information is introduced into the filtering method.
 Index Terms- Empirical Mode Decomposition, Heart RateVariability, Intrinsic Mode Functions, RR intervals, nonlinear curve fitting.
1. Introduction
Over the last 20 years there has been widespread interest inthe study of variations in the beat-to-beat interval of heartknown as heart rate variability (HRV) or RR intervalvariations. HRV has been used as a measure of mortality primarily with patients who have undergone cardiacsurgery. Clinical depression strongly associated withmortality with such patients may be seen through a decreasein HRV [1]. HRV is a non invasive measure of autonomicnervous system balance. Heart rate is influenced by bothsympathetic and parasympathetic (vagal) activities of ANS.The influence of both branches of the autonomic nervoussystem (ANS) is known as sympathovagal balance reflectedin the RR interval changes. A low frequency (LF)component provides a measure of sympathetic effects on theheart and generally occurs in a band between 0.04 Hz and0.15 Hz. A measurement of the influence of the vagus nervein modulating the sinoatrial node can be made in the highfrequency band (HF) loosely defined between 0.15 and 0.4Hz known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and is ameasure of cardiac parasympathetic activity. The ratio of  power in the LF and HF bands (LF/HF) provides themeasure of cardiac sympathovagal balance. Empirical ModeDecomposition (EMD) retains the intrinsic nonlinear nonstationary property of the signal. Any intrinsic timescalederived from the signal is based on the local characteristicstimescale of the signal [2-4]. EMD carries out layer uponlayer sifting and obtains ordered array components fromsmallest scale (highest frequency) to largest scale (lowestfrequency) [4]. Empirical mode decomposition has the possibility of dealing with nonstationary and nonlinear embedded phenomena, and owing to its suitability for a proper assessment of the dynamic and transient changes inamplitude and in frequency of the HRV components [2& 3].Application of EMD to half an hour HRV datayields nine intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). The first scalerepresents the highest frequency or the shortest periodcomponent of the signal. The second scale represents thelower frequency or the longer period component of thesignal. Similarly the last IMF represents the lowest timescale present in the HRV signal. The first two scales containmore than 85% of total signal power. The meanperiod andvariance of IMFs are computed as time domain measures.The variance of IMF decreases exponentially with respect toincreasing timescales (meanperiods). Using nonlinear curvefitting technique the IMFs variations are estimated. Theestimated parameter represents the flexibility of thecardiovascular system.The methodology is applied to HRVsignal obtained from 20 healthy young control subjects, 20healthy old control subjects and 20 subjects with long termST. The intrinsic time scale of IMF 2 classifies the threegroups HRV signal with high sensitivity and specificity.
2. Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)
EMD is a procedure oriented adaptive method for decomposing non-linear non-stationary signals. Thecomponents resulting from EMD are called Intrinsic ModeFunctions (IMFs) [2]. The IMFs are amplitude frequencymodulated intrinsic signals. The IMF’s represents theoscillatory modes imbedded in the signal. It should satisfiesthe following two conditions. 1. In the whole data set thenumber of extrema’s and the number of zero crossings must be either equal or differ by at most one. 2. At any point themean value of the envelope defined by the local minima andthe envelope defined by the local maxima is zero.
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 6, September 2010255http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 14000.911.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8Heart rate variabilitybeat number
  r  r   i  n   t  e  r  v  a   l  s
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.2Intrinsic mode functions0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.20 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.20 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.20 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.20 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.100.10 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.100.10 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0500.050 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0100.010 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 14001.31.4
 
Fig.1.RR interval signal Fig.2. Intrinsic Mode Functions
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 14000.911.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8Reconstructedsignalbeat number
  r  r   i  n   t  e  r  v  a   l  s
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.5-0.4-0.3-0.2-0.100.10.20.3DetrendedHRV signal
 
Fig.3.Reconstructed signal Fig.4.Detrended signalFigs 1-4 explain the efficiency of EMD for RR interval signal. The ECG data has been collected from the biomedical website [7]http://www.physionet.org. The RR intervals are derived from half an hour ECG signal byidentifying the QRS complexes. The signal is manuallyedited and only noise free ectopic free segments are used for the analysis. A real time RR interval signal and its EMDdecomposed IMFs are shown in Fig.1&2. Application of EMD to real time RR interval signal identifies eight to nineIMFs. The IMFs are zero mean amplitude frequencymodulated signal. The decomposition is adaptive andlossless. The original RR interval signal is reconstructedusing decomposed IMFs (Fig.3). The nonstationary trend isremoved when the residue or monotonic trend (last IMF) isomitted while reconstructing the signal (Fig.4).From the RR intervals the HRV signal or 
RR signal (R 
i+1
-R 
i
) is obtained by computing successivedifference between consecutive RR intervals. The obtainedHRV signal and its IMFs are shown in Fig.5 and Fig.6.Matlab 7.1 tools are used for the analysis.
3. Methodology
 
SIFTING ALGORITHM
:
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.4-0.3-0.2-0.100.10.20.30.40.50.6Heart ratevariability signal
 
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.500.5Intinsic modefunctions ofHRV signal0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.200.20 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.100.10 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0500.050 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0500.050 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0200.020 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0200.020 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-202x 10
-3
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-505x 10
-3
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400-0.0100.01
 Fig.5.HRV signal Fig.6. Intrinsic Mode FunctionsStep 1: All the minima and maxima of the HRV Signal x (t),are located.Step 2: Spline Interpolate the minima and maxima points toobtain lower and upper envelopes of the signal.Step 3: Compute mean envelopem (t)=(maxima’s+minima’s)/2.Step 4: Subtract local mean from the original Signal toobtain local details h(t)=x(t)- m(t).Step 5: Check h(t) for the conditions of an Intrinsic ModeFunctions. [2]If h(t) is an IMF compute residue r(t)=x(t)-h(t) and againthe process is repeated to extract the next IMF. If h(t) is notan IMF x(t) is replaced with h(t) and the procedure isrepeated from step 1. Fig.6 shows all IMFs of the signalx(t).The process ends when the range of residue is below a predetermined level or the residue has a monotonic trend. Inorder to guarantee that the IMF components retains enough physical sense in both amplitude and frequencymodulations, the sifting process is stopped by limiting thesize of standard deviation(SD) which is computed from twoconsecutive sifting results.
)](/)()([
)1(1 221)1(1 0
hhhSD
=
=
(1)where k represents number of siftings.The process of finding an intrinsic mode functionrequires number of iterations and the process to find all theIMFs requires further more iterations. As a result of thisiterative procedure finally yields many IMFs and a residue.By summing up all the IMF functions and the residue, theoriginal signal is reconstructed, given by the mathematicalformulae
( )
)()(
1
nh X 
nii
+=
=
(2)Where each h
i
represents an intrinsic mode function and r(n)either a mean trend or a constant.For each IMF the meanperiod and variance arecomputed. The meanperiod is the ratio of distance betweenthe first and last zero-crossings to number of zero-crossingsof IMF.The obtained RR interval signal using ECGrepresents the response of the cardiovascular system to ANSactivities not the ANS activities themselves. Thecharacteristics of cardiovascular system determine how thesystem responds to ANS activity and can alter significantlythe characteristics of the HRV signal. The responsecharacteristics are often nonlinear in nature. The IMFscapture the all the variations present in the HRV signal.Plotting the variance of all IMFs against its meanperiodsgives a nonlinear function. The variance of IMF decreaseswith increasing meanperiod and this behavior isapproximated using a geometric functionY= aX
 b
(3)where Y represents vector of IMF’s variance,. X representsvector of meanperiods of IMFs, a is constant and b is theexponential decrease of the function. The IMFs meanperiodand variance of healthy young control subjects, healthy oldcontrol subjects and long term ST subjects varysignificantly. The variations in the IMF are quantified bythe parameter b. The parameter b represents the flexibilityof cardiovascular system to ANS activities. The parameter bis estimated using nonlinear curve fitting techniqueexplained below.
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 6, September 2010256http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
 Taking logarithm of equation (3), givesln Y = ln a + b ln X (4) putting Y
*
=ln Y , X
*
=ln X , A
*
= ln a then the abovenonlinear equation becomes Y
*
= A
*
+ bX
*
which is a linear equation in X. The corresponding normal equations are
+=
***
 X b NA
(5)
+=
2*****
 X b X  A X 
(6)
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 18000.10.20.30.40.50.60.70.80.9NonlinearresponseofIMFs
 Fig.7. Curve fitting N represents number of IMFs. Solving the normal equationsusing least mean square method the variables ‘a’ and ‘b’ areestimated [5]. The simulated response function using theestimated parameter is shown in Fig.7.
4. Results and Discussion
 EMD and curve fitting techniques are applied to half anhour HRV signal of 20 healthy young control subjects, 20healthy old control subjects and 20 subjects with long termST. Empirical mode decomposition adaptively decomposesthe half an hour HRV signal into number of Intrinsic modefunctions (Fig.6). The analysis is done with
RR intervals.
RR (R 
i+1
-R 
i
) represents the difference between successive beat intervals.
 
The IMFs are measured by their absolutevariance, relative variance and meanperiods. Themeanperiod is the ratio of distance between the first and lastzero-crossings to the number of zero-crossings of IMF. First3 IMFs contains more than 92% of total variance. The IMF1represents the highest frequency or the shortest periodcomponent of the signal. The IMF2 contains the lower frequency or the longer period component of the signal.Since the 1
st
and 2
nd
IMF contains more than 85% of total power they are very significant.Relative powers are computed with respect to total power considering all IMFs except the residue with zeromeanperiod. In healthy young subjects an increase inrelative power of IMF1 decreases the relative power of IMF2 (Fig.8). IMF 1 and IMF 2 are in phase oppositionrepresenting different components of the HRV signal. Theoriginal signal is interpolated to 2 Hz for a meaningfulfrequency measure. The Welch periodogram (with windowwidth 1024 and window overlap of 512 samples) of IMFs of a healthy young control subject are shown in Fig.(9). Table-1 gives the peak frequency(Hz) and absolute spectralpower (ms
2
-miliseconds square) of IMFs The figure shows thefrequency spectrum of the IMFs falls in the recognizedspectral bands of HRV signal: 1.High frequency band from0.15Hz to 0.5Hz; 2. Low frequency band from 0.04Hz to0.15Hz; 3. Very low frequency band from 0.01Hz to0.04Hz..
00.10.20.30.40.50.60.70.80.9
Relative power
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19
Healthy young control records
Relative powers of IMF 1 and IMF 2
Relative powers of IMF 1Relative powers of IMF 2
 
Fig 8: Relative powers of IMF 1 and IMF 2
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.500.0050.01IMF10 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.501234x 10
-3
IMF20 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.500.511.52x 10
-3
IMF30 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.502468x 10
-4
IMF40 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.502468x 10
-4
IMF50 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.502468x 10
-4
IMF6
 Fig 9: Welch periodogram of IMFsIMFs Peak frequency inHzPeak power inms
2
 IMF1 0.2891 0.01IMF2 0.13 0.003IMF3 0.068 0.002IMF4 0.03 0.00069IMF5 0.021 0.0007IMF6 0.01 0.00062Table-1 Spectral values of IMFsThe meanperiod of IMF2 of healthy young controls subjectsare significantly higher compared to healthy old controlssubjects and subjects with long term ST. Consideringmeanperiod of IMF2 (2.9724 secs) as threshold value, weclassified the healthy young control subjects and subjectswith long term ST with 95% sensitivity and 90% specificity.The classification is shown in Fig. (10). A threshold valueof 2.8 secs classifies the healthy old controls subjects andsubjects with long term ST with 90% sensitivity and 70%specificity shown in Fig .(11).
IMF 2 meanperiod of healthy young and subjects with long termst
00.511.522.533.541 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20Healthy youngSub. With long term st
 Fig.10. Meanperiod comparison of healthy young subjectsand subjects with longterm ST.
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 6, September 2010257http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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